Madri is a beer that has taken pubs, bars and supermarket shelves by storm.
But how did it come to be on draught in almost every pub we visit? Before the pandemic, we’d never heard of it!
The story starts back in 2017 when beverage giant Molson Coors snapped up Spanish craft brewer, La Sagra (The Sacred).
Molson Coors, the business behind Carling, Coors Light, Pravha and many more, acquired the craft brewery as it was looking to have a stronger presence in the Iberian region. La Sagra brewery offered the perfect opportunity. Despite having only been founded in 2011, Molson Coors could see La Sagra were a young, innovative brewery, that did things differently.
The thing is, Madri didn’t launch until 2020. So, why is this so important?
Well, Molson Coors wanted to get into the growing European-style lager market. And La Sagra offered the perfect opportunity to collaborate.
Despite calling the lager “Madri”, the traditional name for Madrid, La Sagra’s brewery is actually situated 45 miles outside the city.
But if that link wasn’t tenuous enough, the beer is actually brewed in Tadcaster. Over 900 miles away.
So, despite the tagline “El Alma de Madrid” (Soul of Madrid) and the traditional Chulapos character on the bottle, this European-style lager has little to do with the Spanish capital.
How did the Madri brand grow?
Madri officially launched in October 2020, initially being made available on draught in bars, restaurants and pubs.
You may spot from the date of the launch, the UK was still in the midst of the pandemic. Shortly before the launch, a three-tier restrictions system came into place followed swiftly by a second, “fire breaker” lockdown. Not ideal circumstances to be launching a beer brand that’s only available in pubs.
Luckily, distribution wasn’t too much of an issue because the brand already had a way into pubs with its existing relationships with its other brands such as Carling and Coors Light. So, with the bars stocked, Madri bided its time and kept the pubs, bars and restaurants sweet throughout the tough times, providing plenty of freebies and support.
It was in 2022 that Madri began to ramp up its marketing activity. In March, it jumped into the “off-trade” world, getting the product stocked in supermarkets across the country.
Then, in April, the brand blew up.
Everybody was dreaming of summer getaways with the pandemic finally behind us and this new European-style lager was ready to give people the taste of “Madrid”.
This was then followed by an article in the Irish Mirror and then Manchester Evening News in May.
All of this hype around the brand led to a huge spike in interest.
Below, we’ve included a chart which shows the Google search data for Madri compared to two competitors, Birra Moretti and San Miguel, from the launch of Madri in October 2020. The vertical line pinpoints the start of April 2022, highlighting the impact the media push had on the brand.
In July, Madri launched a £3.5 million marketing campaign across digital, social and out-of-home as well as a TV ad.
All this activity has led to Madri becoming a firm favourite with lager drinkers across the UK, with it stocked in supermarkets and available in over 9,500 venues. Not bad for the new kid on the block.
Obviously, the fact Madri is a Molson Coors brand means its chances of success were massively amped up compared to a new independent starting out. And there are the dubious Mediterranean links.
Having said that, we think there are a couple of key lessons that any brand can take away from this case study.
Listen to your customers. Whether that’s speaking to them directly or looking at the data, they are the ones who ultimately decide what becomes a success and what ends up being a flop. Molson Coors spotted the trend for European-style lagers and executed on it, using the assets at their disposal.
Leverage the audience of others. Madri hasn’t received loads and loads of press attention. But the bits it has achieved have been highly effective, especially the LADBible feature. Where you can, tap into other brands with larger and more engaged audiences.
Hopefully, this article has given you some food for thought. Or at least been interesting.
We don’t know about you, but we’re off to find a crisp pint of Madri.
Until next time, thanks for reading.